If the recent woes of GameStop and the monthly charts didn’t make it clear, last year wasn’t great for the video game industry.

That certainly doesn’t mean that gamers weren’t gaming, but traditionally, fewer games are sold and hardware sales just fall off a cliff in the year before a wave of new consoles launch.

According to the NPD Group, overall sales for the entire video game category in December — including hardware, software, and accessories — was $3 billion, a 15% decline from 2018. In terms of overall software sales, December’s $1.1 billion was a 13% decrease from the same period in 2018. For the year, total spending across the entire video game category was $14.6 billion, a 13% decline from 2018. Software sales slid 9% to $6.6 billion.

As for what people were playing? The top 20 games of last year were a mixed bag that was dominated by some big franchises.

Top 20 Video Games of 2019

  1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
  2. NBA 2K20
  3. Madden NFL 20
  4. Borderlands 3
  5. Mortal Kombat 11
  6. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  8. Kingdom Hearts III
  9. Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
  10. Mario Kart 8
  11. Grand Theft Auto V
  12. Red Dead Redemption II
  13. Minecraft
  14. FIFA 20
  15. Anthem
  16. Pokémon Sword
  17. Resident Evil 2 (2019)
  18. Luigi’s Mansion 3
  19. Days Gone
  20. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Looking ahead, the gaming industry should see a major upswing later this year with E3 this summer and the releases of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 happening this fall.

Photo: Electronic Arts